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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  June 17, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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shouldn't we have a vote or something? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. we americans enjoy our traditions is u.s. open in philadelphia this weekend, the nba championship heading back to miami. the stanley cup. we had another tradition called democracy, called giving the people out there beyond washington and new york the final say in whether we get involved in a war or not. you know, i'm talking about the people who aren't on the sunday tv shows and who don't hold big megaphones of power. who voted to send weapons to the rebels funding the government in syria? i didn't. who voted to commit a war against a government with whom we do have and recognize as a legitimate government as syria? did the senate, did the house of
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representatives vote? bill clinton even said the other day that presidents shouldn't bow to the pollsters. what are they telling us about what the people think? is it important or not that one in five americans wants us in the business of arming rebels in the middle east? is that important or not? are the people considered so out of it we just go skipping off to syria with guns, ammo and whatever else? do the people think what they think matters? again, back to where i started. we have traditions in this country. i like the one where the people have to be convinced of getting into a war. excuse me for living before we get into a war. we should decide it up front. you got a better idea of how to run a country that way. joining me is christopher mur if i have connecticut. i have to ask you this, senator murphy, i have never seen a slip slide into a war situation so easily, so delicately that nobody thinks about having a vote in the congress. we're taking sides.
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we're sending guns. people are going to get killed and nobody gets to vote. >> you know, people paper over this in part because the president has said he's not going to put american soldiers there. but there are serious national security consequences to arming these rebels. first and foremost, this is an enormously complicated proxy war. already on the ground you have the russians and iranians. we would be declaring fighting them on the ground. second, he has not ruled out a no-fly zone which would put american lives at risk because you're talking about having to take out complicated russian-built air defense systems. lastly, this isn't a one-year engagement. even if you are successful at toppling bashir al assad, you then would own this government and the reconstruction of syria for perhaps a decade to come. that's a, you know, hundred
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billion dollar plus investment for the u.s. taxpayer. we should absolutely have a discussion about this in the united states senate and the united states house of representatives. >> here's the question. we're sending guns because we want to stop the blood shed. we send in guns because we want to end the war and all guns do is continue the war. all they do is keep it going longer. then i say maybe it will end the war faster. no one thinks it's going to end the war faster. it's just going to kill more people with blood on our hands. i go he's aiming for a phony war where nobody gets hurt like in world war i the so-called phony war where nobody really shot at each other. is that what he's aiming for? do you know what the president's aiming for? i can't figure it out. a transition peacefully where putin goes off to russia or perhaps iran? what is he telling you people? >> i acknowledge the president is in an impossible situation here. if he does nothing, it appears he is essentially endorsing the
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murder of civilians. if he does something -- >> who says that? >> i this i there's a lot of pressure on him to try to stop this blood shed. you have to both identify a problem. >> excuse me. >> and a solution, chris. >> we cheered from the sidelines iran and iraq. nobody said we should stop the blood shed. we have particular wars we want to get involved in. the only war going on in the middle east is between the shia and the sunni. we take the sunni side in this war. we took the shia side in the iraq war. we're irrelevant except for providing guns. it's not our war. >> listen, you're arguing my points here. i'm identifying you've got to show there's a problem and a solution. my contention is that we're going to make this worse, not better. i was one of three votes against giving the president the power to arm the rebels in the foreign relations committee against 15 on the other side. here's another problem. you identified the fact that you can't just give them automatic weapons.
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that's not going to turn the balance. if you give them more serious weapons, al qaeda is allied with the people we're supplying weapons to. if you give them more high-powered weapons weapons, they could fall into the hands of people that want to do damage to us. this thing is so hyper complicated, it deserves more debate than we've had so far. >> nobody sane is talking about giving them stingers to go after helicopters because that's what we did with the mujahadin who became al qaeda. after a meeting tonight, president obama and vladimir putin agreed to disagree on syria. here's what the president said after the meeting. let's watch. >> with respect to syria, be we do have differing perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence, securing chemical weapons and insuring that they're neither used nor are they subject to proliferation. and that we want to try to
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resolve the issue through political means if possible. >> we're just watching the president talk in tactical terms about chemical weapons and all, but i'll tell you, i didn't see putin joining in there. i don't know what common ground we've got except we start shooting at his defense systems and his people as you point out, senator. that's a shooting war between us and the russians, something we've avoided since 1945. in fact, we've always avoided. >> what normally happens is that you have a rebellion. often they go without as much blood shed and then you have civil war. this is about as complicated a civil war as you get one in with which the iranians and russians are not going to run away from. so the united states could potentially be successful in getting the rebels over the hump but then there is going to be a follow-on war that the russians
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and iranians could be involved in, al qaeda could be involved in. what is the plan here? what are we trying to accomplish? if we're trying to accomplish a u.s. friendly permanent government in damascus, that is a ten-year commitment that could involve american deaths and certainly involves billions and billions of dollars. >> thank you so much, chris murphy of connecticut. thanks so much for coming on. we're joined now by congressman steve ritual, a republican from virginia. you represent virginia beach and other big places down in virginia. tell me -- >>ing >> you've got skin in the game. >> absolutely. >> what do you think about this going to war with no vote? they had a little vote over on the senate foreign relations committee. it went 15-3, apparently it's not coming to the floor. >> i applaud senator murphy. the way he articulated is wise. i introduced and the house passed last week an amendment to the national defense authorization act that made
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clear that the precedent being set by the administration and chris, i think what happened in libya is instructive to us. we launched 221 cruz missiles and over oef 700 jdam munitions into libya. that didn't rise to the level of triggering the war powers act? what level of force must we exert before that should it be in play? >> what do the people think? look at this poll we've got here. a pew research poll. it leans a little left sometimes. this isn't exactly a close call. 20% support favor backing the so-caused anti-government troops, in other words the rebels. 70% oppose. so one in five are for us arming the rebels. >> right. there's so little what appears to be common ground in washington but there is common ground here. the american people are a good people. it's a noble desire to stop the
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blood shed in syria. over 93,000 have been killed. look, that's a burden on any person's conscience, a thinking person's conscience, but this idea that we just have to go out and proactively engage in these things, it's hurt us as a country. and what i'm asking for and what the amendment said was basically that from the framers to the current administration and look, it's not partisan, but what happened in libya is instructive. i think we're kind of headed there on the slippery slope where we're going with sir. >> let's hear what the president's chief of staff denis mcdonough had to say on this right now. >> we have to be very discerning about what's in our interest and what outcome is best for us and the prices we're willing to pay to get to this place. we've rushed to war in this region in the past. we're not going to do it here. >> there he is now with this
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pattern of slippery slope. everybody understood why we went to afghanistan, because that's where the tag came from on ni9/. then we slipped into libya, no vote on that. we're on the edge now of slipping into a war in syria. no vote on that. i don't know what kind of vote we're going to have on iran. >> the people's house, the house of representatives passed this amendment with the bipartisan support. and this is i think a good indication of the will of the american people. so as noble as the president, his mission might be now and his desire to stop the blood shed, i think we ought to limit our support to humanitarian support, put pressure on putin and the new president of iran to not send in the 4,000 revolutionary guards. >> thank you so much. scott rigell of virginia. coming up, the republican clown show is back in town this week with the faith and freedom coalition featuring like sarah
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palin who actually sounded pretty smart this weekend. herman kaine and pick rememberry are themselves. but carnival barkers aside, the gop needs to figure out whether it's a party of libertarians or prag mag activities or it might be out of power for more than eight years. plus on one side you have lindsey graham saying the party needs immigration reform because it's into a demographic death spiral right now. on the other hand, you have steve stock man of texas essaying if reform does pass, the op can kiss texas good-bye. who is going to win this fight within the gop? and is case being made for anti-terror surveillance? let me finish tonight where i started. shouldn't congress have to vote before we get into another war? this is "hardball," the place for politics. i am an american success story.
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making good proog there in the special election for the senate next tuesday. according to a new poll, markey has an 11-point read over republican gabriella gifford, markey 54, gomez 43. the election is next tuesday. we hope to be up there to cover it. we'll be right back. "off the beaten path"... he said. "trust me"... he implored. alas, she is beginning to seriously wonder... why she ever doubted... the booking genius. planet earth's number one accomodation site: booking.com booking.yeah! we're not in london, are we? no. why? apparently my debit card is. what? i know. don't worry, we have cancelled your old card. great. thank you. in addition to us monitoring your accounts
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this train is running full speed down the tracks toward socialism. and toward communism. yes, i said it. >> i fear that where we've come to in america, where our administration won't make one phone call to save our men and women in a embassy in lebanon. >> well, welcome back to "hardball." whoops from risking perry there whose dig at president obama lost a byte when he mixed up
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countries that start with l, lebanon and libya. a cast of the whole go all-stars turned out for the faith and freedom coalition this weekend. at times it looked like a rerun of the 2012 gop primaries. sarah palin was there in full force with her own foreign policy advice for the president in syria. >> we're talking now more new interventions. i say until we know what we're doing, until we have a commander in chief who knows what he's doing, well, chief in these radical islamic countries aren't even respecting basic human rights with both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line allahu akbar i say until we have someone who knows what they're doing, i say let allah sort it out. >> red line. >> former florida governor and potential 2016 contender jeb
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bush tried to use reason to make his case for republican action on immigration reform. >> is destiny. if that's the case, if that's the case, then we're going to having fewer workers taking care of a larger number of people that have -- the country has a social contract with to be able to allow them to retire with dignity and purpose. we cannot do that with the fertility rates that we have in our country. we're below break even today. one way that we can rebuild the demographic pyramid is to fix a broken immigration system. immigrants create far more businesses than native born americans over the last 20 years. immigrants are more fertile and they love families and they have more intact families and they bring a younger population. >> less than 24 hours after governor bush spoke as you just saw him, sarah palin couldn't resist taking a jab at him. >> and let's not kid ourselves in believing we can rebuild our
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majority by the way passing a pandering rewarding the rule breakers still no border security, special interest written amnesty bill. and i think it's kind of dangerous territory, touchy territory to want to debate this over one race's fertility rate over another and i say this as someone kind of fertile herself. >> new jersey governor much mentioned 2016 candidate chris christie sat down for discussion with former president bill clinton up in chicago. this party hopes to pick a candidate who can win in 2016. joining me are two great observers, joy reid, managing editor of the grio. i want you to both to reserve your attitudes a little bit here and try to use your ingenious political instincts and try to see into the belly of the beast,
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if you will. joy, especially. see into the stomach of the republican party and find out what its gut is saying to it now as it's sort of halfway almost toward another season to pick. as we all know, within the next year, this thing will be hot and heavy for the presidential already. it's no the too early to ask about it. i see the party divided along this spectrum. on the left, if you will, sort of center for most of the country is chris christie. moving right, i see let's see, i see rubio, bush, and walker. sort of republican republicans. then when you go further on, i see rand paul and cruz, and then further over, i see santorum. and so it does seem to be a -- hold this up there because it's so wide. i want people to look at it as you talk and try to figure out where the golden mean is. is it somewhere around walker? where do you find the median of
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the republican party in terms of ideology these days? >> well, chris, first of all, i have to make an observation, is it just me or is sarah palin's hair getting bigger every month? it's huge. beyond sarah palin i actually don't think the republican party has a magic mean. i still think the republican party is three pieces, it's a three-legged stool. it's the base, the archie bunker win of the party that you just saw, the sarah palins of the world appeal to them. then you've got the wall street party. the sort of upper crust part of the party to whom a jeb bush or chris christie might appeal. then the evangelical wing of the party, probably the most frustrated because they've been getting promises for the longest. they've been told since the '80s eventually their desire, the things important to them, like anti-abortion legislation will get done and they never got done. you've got three pieces of the party where it is the wall street part of the party that keeps picking the candidates and the other two have had it.
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i don't know there's a mean. >> you just defined the republican party of my entire lifetime because starting after world war ii when they picked dewey and an-eisenhower and nixon, generally it's been mitt romney and establishment candidates. in that three-legged stool, only one stool is establishment and thinks about winning. the other two vote their guts. i want to go back to you on the gut question, david corn. will the ticked off part of that party, the ted cruz, rand paul, we just want to be the right party, will they finally win it this time? >> not all legs of the stool are created equal. it's not an even stool. if you know what happened last time around, the tea party wing, evangelicaling will, the angry two legs were a lot bigger than when it came to votes out there than the establishment one. mitt romney still managed to slade past those guys, but you know, the problem is not with
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the candidates as much as it is with the base of the party. as angry as they were in 2012, i think joy's right. they're as angry or more angry in 2016. so that mean, na nice graphic you had up there is going to be pulled further to the right. to me the big question though is, last time around the people who appealed to that, herman kaine, michele bachmann were kind of off the crazy train. this time around, if it's going to be ted cruz, rand paul, people you and i disagree with but are not as nuts at least in presentation as the herman kaine's in the world or even rick perry so will they be able to finally match the base with somebody with some degree of legitimacy. >> i agree with you. they're not the wing nuts. they are more closer to what is the gut of the republican party. we just had the james carville on the other day. he said if you talk to -- whatever you are, man, woman, whatever background and talk like ted cruz to a republican
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audience, it's not going to go crazy. i hate the irs. he says that else is. >> absolutely. >> that will sell but ted cruise, if he is a natural born america whatever the terms are defined around by the birther crowd and he's considered in by the same standards, he would be considered out if he was held to the same judgment as the birther crowd on obama, carville thinks he could sell. >> and i think ted cruz is a fascinating character. the other dirty secret within the republican party is who the meat and potatoes wing of the party is add at right now. they're mad at their own political wing, the guys who think they're smarter than them in washington who keep picking people like mitt romney. >> you're saying jeb bush can't win. >> i think he cannot get the nomination because he's seen as one of the establishment guys. rubio and ted cruz are competing to split the middle, plausible enough for independents. rubio is starting to lose it
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because immigration is something that base is saying hell, no. and ted cruz has captured that and he's able a smart guy and able to still sound intelligent to the media. ted cruz is interesting. rand paul is trying to do the same thing. >> if i were trying to pick a really good candidate for the republicans, i would be looking at rubio because like both parties, you try to go center left and center right. try and find a way of building a broad support for you and learn how to deal with the other side. rubio is trying to deal with democrats on something that has to get done for the republicans. >> you know there are two completely different realities clashing here. one is the republican reality and the other is the rest of the world. >> you can't say that because these polls are so close. every time there's an right versus left vote in the this party, you no he how close it gets. >> when it comes to picking a nominee, the republican party is not interested necessarily, a
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lot of the primarily voters are not interested in finding someone who can win and cut the difference and groeshate the way rubio can. ted cruz can play both ways. >> if it looks like hillary is running, will they just go off and have a good time? liking in san francisco and where we are in georgia. >> they're going to try to move heaven and earth to stop hillary clinton. you're going to see a civil war like nobody's business. >> will they try to beat her. >> i think they're going to try. the establishment will want a rubio, but if that immigration law passes, the base is going to be really mad at rubio. ted cruz has made it its missioning to take rubio down. >> that means the majority of house republicans voted for it if it passes. if rubio wins, that's because a majority of the house republicans voted for it. thank you, david corn. interesting combinations going
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on here. i might have slowed you down for a second. up next, vladimir putin it pockets a super bowl ring. i think. i heard the guy he took it from tell me about it. this is "hardball." [ male announcer ] snap out of your snack routine with delicious pringles stix. ♪ ♪ everything pops with pringles stix. [ crunch ]
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should help the u.s. or should help south africa and should help the iraq and the asian countries so we will be able to build up our future. >> now we turn to this year's version of last night. last night's miss usa pageant. the topic equal pay for women in the workplace. things got a little rocky for miss utah. >> a recent report shows that in 40% of american families with children, women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. what does this say about society? >> i think we can relate this back to education. and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now. that is the biggest problem. we need to try to figure out how to create education better so that we can solve this problem.
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>> hmm. something of a brain freeze i guess. it's not like this kind of thing is new. last year several contenders couldn't quite recall the name of our beloved vice president. >> oh, my gosh. what's his name. this is so bad. i just read an article. >> the current vice president of the united states is joe biden. >> biden. >> biden. >> i don't know anything about politics. >> joe biden. >> joe biden. >> this is bad. >> i don't know. >> joe biden. >> world peace. >> about 50/50. despite her fumble over the question, miss aught did make it to third runner why. republican senator ron johnson got caught answering a question about workplace discrimination. the results were different but not necessarily better. at the faith and freedom's coalition last week, we told you about that, a reporter from thing progress asked johnson
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about his position on the employment nondiscrimination act which would prevent employers from firing someone just because they're gay. >> employment nondiscrimination act which makes it illegal to fire someone for being gay. do you know if you'll be supporting that. >> all all i can tell you is in my own business i had a policy of total nondiscrimination. we had gay and lesbian individuals working for us. >> due think it should be a law though? >> i don't particularly like the federal government telling anybody to do anything. >> what about for women? >> we've got to go. >> with that logic of his, wouldn't senator johnson be against the civil rights act? and my next the super bowl focus tiff between the united states and russia comes full circle. i heard this story from robert kraft. he talked about the time he let russian president vladimir putin try on his super bowl ringing from 2005. i took out the ring and i showed
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to putin and he had put it on and he goes, i can kill someone with this ring. i put my hand out and he put the ring in his pocket. and three kgb guys got around him and they walked out. kraft later said even though he wanted the ring back, the bush administration asked him to let it stand as a gift and avoid controversy. i heard mr. kraft share that story myself at the stuff folk university commencement address several weeks ago. what a story. i'm sure putin is embarrassed. up next, the deep division amongst republicans over immigration reform. it's either going to kill or save the party depending on which republican you're listening to. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. so what did you think of the house? well it's got a great kitchen, but did you see the school rating? oh, you're right. oh hey babe, i got to go. ok. come here sweetie, say bye to daddy. bye daddy! have a good day at school ok? ok.
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mark wrap. the dow surged 109 points. the s&p up about 12 and the nasdaq jumped 28. home builder sentiment soared in june to a seven-year high a symbol the builders are viewing the market favorably. a planned stock split for google is expected on the horizon after shareholders settled a lot this weekend. and that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball" and chris. >> this is a great top pick. lose now or later. that's the choice republicans say they're facing on the issue of immigration reform. think about it. on the one hand, there's a demographic reality threatening the future of the party. minorities populations including hispanics are skewing heavily in favor of democrats.
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immigrant populations are booming, is their share of the population. that's why lindsey graham is urging the party to do something to curry favor to the political bloc. doll nothing they say and you can basically kiss the white house good-bye in 2016 and well beyond. but doing something means a more immediate backlash from the conservative base, those supporting that bill one that can actually make it to the president's desk would likely result in a voter backlash from conservative republicans out there. so lose now in 2014 or lose later in 2016. that's a narrow look at it. john bray ben is a republican strategist and harold fine man from the huffington media group and an analyst for msnbc. i know that the republicans face a problem with minorities and hispanics going back to the votes they've cast and also class politics. immigrants tend to not be very wealthy. republicans are portrayed fairly
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as the party of the better off and civil rights not as good as they used to be. there's reasons why people new to the corrupt or here illegally would have a certain attitude about the republican party. it seems to me if you get more democrats because you get more hispanic voters, you saw what happened in california. they became democrats. how do the republicans win this thing? is it a catch 22 to be blunt? we're talking about not the moral issue but the blunt political issue. >> there's a policy issue and a political issue. i mean, if you look at this, most hispanics less than 50% of hispanics say if the republicans do something, i will consider voting for them. >> consider. >> less than 50%. but the second thing to understand too is among the hispanic group, most people will say economics at least an equal amount to the immigration reform is why they would vote for a candidate. and what we think in this over simplistic washington world is if we just do some immigration reform all of a sudden we'll get
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the support from the hispanics and it's not going to happen that way and the base very well may be turned off. >> howard, look at this politically. in many 2014, this is where i see there's a conundrum coming up this year. all those anglo districts. if you're not hispanic in this way we talk, then you're anglo. obviously not everybody is anglo. if you're in an anglo district and republican, why would you vote for immigration reform in in political terms, what's the plus? >> well, let's look at lindsey graham who is the human fault line of the republican party. >> senators now who have a big stake. >> he's a republican senator up for re-election next year. he takes the big view that he wants the republican party to grow. he wants the republican party to reach out to hispanics. that's why he became a member of the gang of eight with marco rubio to work on this legislation. but the other problem that lindsey graham has is ooze very
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likely to face a tea party challenger next year in the republican primary in that very conservative state of south carolina. so he was looking at the gang of eight as a kind of protection program for himself. get the thing off the table, get it done. ride marco rubio's coat tails to some kind of compromise. the problem is the first thing marco rubio said once he put out his bill, it's not strong enough on the border. i got to make it stronger on the border and lindsey graham is going don't say that. you were my protection. now what. so lindsey graham has got to come out for tougher border enforcement. the republicans have a very tough time squaring the internal politics of the tea party in 2014 and their national political landscape in 2016. and lindsey graham is the perfect example of it. >> let's hear senator graham, one of the architects of the gang of eight. the real effort to try to get immigration reform. he delivered a dire reform to
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republicans looking to block the problem. this is really serious politics here. >> if we don't pass immigration reform, if we don't get it off the table in a reasonable practical way, it doesn't matter who you run in 2016. we're in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. >> by the way, i think he's speaking not exactly but that's a lot what the john mccain thinks about. the problem is 2016 looks pretty far away if you're facing re-election in 2014. for house republicans doing nothing is perhaps the better option. that's the thinking of some strategists. the washington examiner reports that "one gop strategist noted house republicans are likely to suffer a greater voter backlash in 2014 if they back the wrong immigration reform bill than they would if they did nothing on the issue." it seems to me that you've got examples here. what happened in california when you got in 1986 bill that was
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passed legalizing 300,000 people who all became democrats apparently. >> the real problem is not just that it's reform. it's comprehensive reform. there's a big difference. a lot of people think the democrats are in trouble because they did comprehensive health care. same thing with immigration. if they would have just picked the sweet spots that everybody agrees with and the republicans made a clear case that that's where. >> democrats and the liberals and hispanic groups will not support a bill that doesn't have a play off this citizenship, the hardest pill for your party to swallow. they will not support it. >> that's the hangup. so we're either going to lose everything and get nothing because of that or you're going to see republican candidates. >> here's steve stockman, a conservative republican from texas. he warned that the immigration bill passes, if it does, i like the way people talk, you can kiss my state of texas good-bye for republicans as well as arizona and florida. it will be just like what happened in california as i said
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after the '86 amnesty bill. the bill signed into law granted legal status to some 3 million immigrants many of whom were in california. 7 had un,000 illegal immigrants became citizens through the provision for agriculture workers alone. california last voted republican back in '88. >> i know, but this is a nation of immigrants. it's true. and the republican response, correct me if i'm wrong, john, can't be you know what? let's build a wall a mile high. you can't do that. you have to have policies and he's right about economics being one. health care was another. the democrats in 2012 used obama care which was not popular elsewhere, used it in the hispanic community. that was their big outreach. so the republicans can't stand in the door and say no. they've got to figure out a way to get those people. >> whatever bill we pass ought to stop the people racing across the border. it ought to be legalized on
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paper like any other country including mexico does it this way. working papers. if you don't have working papers, you don't work in the country. nobody wants to hear that because the latinos whant what they want. nobody wants a really good law we're proud to enforce. that's what i want. something we're proud of as a country. we're letting people in here as liberal as any country in the world but we're going to keep it on the brooks. do you hear that, jay? >> i think howard said something very, very important. the republicans are going to be in a death spiral until whether you're hispanic, white american, whoever, that we are fighting for hard working middle class blue collar americans who feel we understand their lives abare going to fight for them instead of always being taxpayers for the rich or corporations. it's all one big muddle in the middle. >> that sounds like rick santorum's campaign for 2016. i just heard it. >> we were so happy when you sent the donation in this morning. >> thank you. i do like rick santorum personally. i like that case you're making,
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by the way. i do like it. it sounds like hillary clinton. thank you, john brabender. and howard fineman. can the case be made by the way after all this government surveillance this weekend they began to make the case this has saved us from maybe a dozen serious attacks. i think the people are still listening to this evidence. i don't think we're black and white on this baby. this is "hardball." the place for politics. mmy's hag a french fry. yes she is, yes she is. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. 100% vegetable juice, with three of your daily vegetable servings in every little bottle. wthto fight chronic.aily vosteoarthritis pain. to fight chronic low back pain. to take action. to take the next step. today, you will know you did something for your pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a pain reliever fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day,
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moment to talk about the actual good case, if there is one, for government surveillance. we want to hear that side of it. "hardball" back after this. i've been taking a multivitamin for years. centrum silver. both of us actually. our pharmacist recommended it.
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the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?" i started schwab for those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. we're back to a hot story. nsa leaker ed snowden is back in the headlines today. 29-year-old self-described whistle-blower answered questions in a live online chat on "the guardian" newspaper's website. snowden insisted the government has much more access to personal information than it claims, saying, quote, the reality is this. they can enter and get results for anything they want. he defended his decision to leak writing, quote, i did not reveal any u.s. operations against legitimate military targets. i pointed out where the nsa has
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hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. snowden also pointed the finger at president obama personally, writing, quote, obama's campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. he closed the door on investigating systemic violations of law, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see in guantanamo where men still sit without charge. in the wake of snowden's leaks have disclosed additional information about the programs, including what are its benefits. last week nsa officials say these programs have helped thwart dozens of attacks in 20 countries. so is snowden unwittingly making the case for big surveillance or not? eugene robinson is a pulitzer prize winning columnist. and michael, i've known you
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forever. you're a great, fabulous, investigative reporter. maybe this isn't your area to ask you about. but the country is in a quandary here. we know we've been attacked. we know we will be attacked as long as we live. the only power comes in knowledge. we need that knowledge, yet we value very much our cowboy independence and privacy. are we getting to the information from both sides of this argument that is going to help us make that decision where to draw the line? >> well, first of all, we have clearly learned in the last couple of weeks a lot more about these super secret programs. >> certainly. >> how they operator, the legal authorities, because of the leaks of snowden. and i think there is going to be an extensive debate about how productive that's been. the intelligence community has declassified a lot and spoken much more openly about these programs, trying to make the case that they have been helpful in thwarting terrorist plots. >> you're an expert.
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were you surprised -- >> the fact that they were using this patriot act provision 215 to collect records of every phone call in the country that everybody had made is not something we had ever known, not something that was ever contemplated or discussed when they passed the patriot act. and in fact, the public statements -- >> so you thought the pfizer courts would never give that broad of authority away? >> they have given that broad authority. >> you were surprised? >> i was surprised that they had done so, and ei was surprised that the government had never publicly acknowledged this was happening. merely letting the public know that this program was operational, that we were collecting these numbers was going to tell the bad guys anything. >> anybody in the journalism world nose about everything. you just do. as an editor and columnist, were you surprised at the breadth of the surveillance? >> i was stunned. i had no idea it was that broad. and as mike said, the idea that a provision in the patriot act
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that was never designed for this, for anything this broad was secretly interpreted by a secret court after a secret request from the government to broaden it to cover everybody's phone calls, the records of every phone call is i think stunning. >> were you surprised -- >> now we can have a debate about the effectiveness and the usefulness of collecting this kind of data. but you can't have that debate if you don't nobody it. >> grownup people may cost benefit analysis every day of their lives. can we afford this dinner? this trip? can we afford this vacation? when you look at the defense the last several days do you think it's developed enough to justify this? >> i think i and a lot of other people want to know more. pressure on them to know more. look, they have given a couple of examples like the foiling of the zazi plot in new york where they say these programs were key to thwarting it. you know, then you get pushback from others, including documents shows british intelligence --
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>> what about snowden's good police work could have gotten these cases broken? >> yeah, i think there is some reason to think that might be the case. until you get full sunlight on this, you can't make -- >> question. how do the american people make their congress people, republican, democrat, congressman, conservative, get their hands on this? so even though the average american isn't voting on this, somebody they trust is? >> frankly, i don't think this is a voting issue for most people. from the -- >> that's fair to say. well, it will be at some point. >> and just from my sense at it. at some point it might be. as it sinks in how much data -- >> i think very young people are likely into this one. i got to go. i'm sorry, michael, i'm just getting the sign. michael isikoff, eugene robinson, this is going to continue this conversation. and it's great american conversation. they don't have this argument in russia. we'll be right back after this. help the gulf recover, and learn from what happened so we could be a better, safer energy company. i've been with bp for 24 years. i was part of the team that helped deliver
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let me finish tonight where i began. if we're going to get involved in another war, this time in syria, how about have congress vote on it. what do you think? isn't it reasonable if people are going to die because of this country that the people of this country have a say in it? i'm not asking for an election, just for the elected members of congress be forced to put their names to it. there ought to be a vote in the senate and the house on the simple question whether the united states should send guns, ammo, and whatever else to the rebels fighting to topple the government of syria. and another thing, should we be committing acts of war against a country, in this case syria, with whom we have diplomatic relations?

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